🦦 11 Adorable Facts about Otters
Otters are seriously cute critters – if you’re one of the few people out there yet to see these animals holding hands, then get yourself over to YouTube – or better yet, to see them in the wild! These floating, fuzzy mammals are extremely photogenic, but there’s still likely to be plenty you may not know about them. Here are some fun facts about otters well worth remembering for the next pub quiz.
1. They have an interesting family!
Believe it or not, otters are actually related to the badger and the skunk! They are technically mustelids and are rare creatures in the family in that they tend to spend most of their time in the water.
2. How does their fur stand the wetness?
An otter being in the water at all is a little odd given the fact that they are covered in fur. However, their fur is the densest of all animals that grow hair – meaning they are very well adapted to floating and drifting around.
3. There are many different types and species of otter.
Otters come in all shapes and sizes, and in fact, there are 13 different species of this creature in the wild. The largest can grow to be an impressive 1.8m or almost six feet long! Not hard to spot, then!
4. They love Alaska!
Sea otters tend to have a favorite spot on the world map – the vast majority, in fact, nine out of ten of them, live on the Alaskan coast. Cold, but that’s their choice!
5. Otter diets really can vary.
Otters tend to feed on fish (and why wouldn’t they if they’re in the water?) – however, did you know that a specific species of otter, based in the Scottish Shetland Islands, likes to hunt and feast on rabbit? Each to their own!
6. They’ve evolved to use tools.
Sea otters are pretty incredible when it comes to snacking – they can use tools, such as rocks, to break open shelled creatures they find on their travels. That’s incredible evolution in action.
7. We even work with them occasionally!
In Bangladesh, the practice of humans working together with otters to fish is still widely undertaken! Professional fishers train otters to hunt down prey – and we sincerely hope they split the profits!
8. Hand-holding – it’s true!
Yes, the phenomenon of otters holding hands is completely true. Otters will hold hands while they sleep and drift so that they don’t separate!
9. They love to chow down!
Otters – in particular, the sea variety – need to consume huge amounts of food to keep active. This means that they generally spend much of their time on the hunt – it’s all about staying warm, ultimately.
10. Their conservation status has changed a lot.
Sadly, otters have been threatened by human hunting for quite some time. It’s not as widespread as it once was, but otters were once threatened as a result of their coats proving to be useful in the fur trade. That said, some otters are still protected – sea otters, for example, are protected under various international laws.
11. Room for a little one?
River otters are the ‘cuckoos’ of their species – in that they will sometimes muscle in and steal another animal’s property! However, this tends to be after they’ve vacated – though it’s not unheard of for a beaver to begrudgingly let an otter share its dam (not often, mind!).
FAQs about Otters
Are otters aggressive?
Yes - sometimes. While they may seem cute and cuddly, and while you can train an otter to fish, they are still wild animals - meaning they will give you a nip if they feel threatened by you. It’s best to steer clear!
Are otters clever creatures?
Yes, otters are famously intelligent. Not only do they hold hands to stop them from floating away, the otter is also known for its exploration skills, as well as for its early-response ‘alarm’ - to warn family about approaching predators.
What’s so special about otters?
Otters have record-breaking fur in that it’s the densest of any creature - and they are adapted to be some of the best swimmers in the animal kingdom!
Do you know any fun facts about otters? Share them in the comments below!
This page was last modified on November 16, 2022. Suggest an edit